A New York City restaurant became the target of viral outrage last week after issuing a racist receipt to one Asian customer.
Last week, Facebook user Ziggy Chau posted a photo online of a receipt that a friend’s mom had been given when ordering takeaway at an East Village restaurant called the Cornerstone Cafe. Under customer name, the server had typed in “Ching Chong.”
In her Facebook post, Chau called for a boycott of the cafe until it issued a public apology for the offensive receipt, while also getting in a shot at US President Donald Trump: “Hate to get political but in light of what is happening here in the USA and our current president seem to make it ok to come out and be blatantly racist.”
Though she said that her friend didn’t want to make a big deal about the issue, Chau called the restaurant and spoke with the manager, Rocco, who claimed that maybe the server had simply misheard the customer’s name.
Obviously, this explanation didn’t satisfy Chau who updated her post on Facebook, urging fellow outraged netizens to force the restaurant to issue a public aplogy. “This is not about being petty or overly sensitive,” she wrote. “This is about speaking up when it matters, especially as Asians.”
Soon, Rocco did issue an apology on the restaurant’s Facebook page, explaining that he had no choice but to fire the employee responsible for the “unjustified act,” adding that “it definitely does not reflect the way the Cornerstone staff or I think because of one individual’s stupidity.”
While Chau urged restraint in the viral shaming of the restaurant, declaring that “there are many people that are employed by the restaurant whose livelihoods depend on their jobs there and should not suffer because ONE IGNORANT employee thought it was ok to make a racist remark,” the cafe has since shut down its Facebook account amid online outrage.
For Chau, this was a successful incidence of mobilizing social activism to combat racism, one that she hopes the Asian community in America will be able to build upon in the future.
“Asians clearly have a lot of work to do in terms of speaking up,” she wrote. “We should also not be afraid or fear speaking out for other people, too because racism against ANY one group of people is WRONG and it is EVERYONE’S issue!”
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